Wk 10: Shattered Glass-The Final Chapter(s).

Shattered Glass was one of the best movies I have ever seen. I think that the ending could have been improved immensely, but the overall story was absolutely fascinating to watch. I would urge you to watch the movie yourself to get a better understanding of what I am talking about.

Anyway, I am going to go over some actions made by editors in the movie, and then say whether I agree or disagree with the actions. I would suggest that: A) You read my first and second article on the subject, and B) Read each of these episodes and make your own decision before you read my response.

When the publisher forces everyone on staff to circle every comma in the last issue, so he can point out what he believes are mistakes, Kelly confronts him. “These people…deserve our thanks, not another one of your world-famous tantrums,” he tells the publisher. “I would resign before I’d allow you to bully them like that again.” Then, hanging up the phone, Kelly announces, “The Great Comma Debate is history.”

Nice job! Kelly is basically saying that journalism is about hard work and sincerity, not grammar-that’s what English class is for. We can read an excellent article, and yet if we see one spelling error, we snap. Yes, I do believe that articles should be spell-checked, but this is not what journalism is about, and I believe this is the point Kelly was trying to get across.

 After Lane and Glass spend hours in a conference call with Forbes, during which the facts in Glass’ computer hacker story become steadily more and more dubious, Lane sends Glass back to his office and calls the Forbes editor privately to ask that they spare his reporter. “You guys have discovered something that a troubled 25-year-old has done,” he says. “He could be very hurt by what you guys publish.” But when asked if he still stands by the story, Lane answers, off the record, “I’m looking into it…”

Yes, it would be helpful for editors to stand by their journalists, but Lane made the right decision in “looking into it.” If a story is false, then an editor has the responsibility to take accountability and give an apology, with sincerity, to the trustingly naive public, even if it hurts the reputation of the magazine.

Finally convinced that Glass faked every shred of evidence for the facts he reported in his computer hacker story, Lane finds himself confronted by other staff members who feel it would be wrong to fire him. “He doctored his notes,” Lane tells them, “He lied to his editor.” But when they insist that Glass only lied out of panic and needs help, Lane backs down. Instead of firing him, he suspends Glass for two years.

This is where I disagree with Lane. When you are in a position of leadership, you have to make the right decision, even if it is hard, or if others disagree. Glass had been a manipulative {expletive} and deserved to be more than fired. Suspension almost seemed immoral. I would have had Glass fired before he could say “Shattered,” and pressed charges.

 

The main lesson I have learned from this movie is that false stories will always be discovered, and so therefore by lying I simply begin the process of digging my own grave. My perspective regarding journalism hasn’t changed much, except for this: the Glass’s of the world are making journalism less credible and more suspicious. I fear that in a decade there won’t be much journalism because noone would believe it. Furthermore, I also feel that there is a big gap between these institutions of media and the people who work there, that can only be solved by careful examination not only of the stories, but the character of the hired.

 

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